tech2 News StaffOct 27, 2020 20:14:20 IST
Facebook’s oldest employee in India and its Head of Public Policy, Ankhi Das, has reportedly left the company to pursue her interest in public service. Only months ago, Das was met with allegations of having interfered in the company’s content moderation policy in India, to favour the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
But Facebook has denied the allegations as the reason for her departure, as per a TechCrunch report.
Das recalled, in a note to her colleagues at Facebook, the early days of the company and the internet ecosystem in India when she joined the company in 2011.
“We were a small unlisted startup back then guided only by our mission and purpose to connect people in India. After nine long years, I feel that mission has largely been met. There is an enormous amount I have learnt from incredibly smart and talented people in the company, particularly from people on the policy team. This is a special company and a special group of people,” Das wrote.
She also expressed her hope that her time at Facebook was valuable to the company and to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
“Thank you, Mark for creating something beautiful for the world. I hope I have served you and the company well. I know we will be in touch on Facebook,” she added.
Managing Director of Facebook India, Ajit Mohan, was full of praises for Das in a formal acknowledgement of her exit from the company.
“Ankhi was one of our earliest employees in India and played an instrumental role in the growth of the company and its services over the last 9 years. She has been a part of my leadership team over the last 2 years, a role in which she has made enormous contributions. We are grateful for her service and wish her the very best for the future,” Mohan said.
The hateful content controversy
In August 2020, Das was named in a Wall Street Journal report for “alleged deliberate and intentional inaction to contain certain hateful content in India.” During the time she oversaw operations in India, Das blocked action from being taken against leaders associated with the BJP and other Hindutva groups, the report says. Present and former employees of Facebook claim to have heard Das telling staff that “punishing violations by politicians from Mr Modi’s party would damage the company’s business prospects in the country,” as per the WSJ report.
India is Facebook’s largest global market by number of users. Das led the company’s Public Policy in India, South and Central Asia for almost nine years. Specifically, she handled the data security, privacy and safety efforts in India.
Before being appointed to a top role in Facebook, Das was working at Microsoft India as its Director of Public Policy, Legal and Corporate Affairs.